First steps for refugees arriving in Berlin

You have taken in refugees in your home. What now? A registration process awaits you – and it can seem confusing and quite complicated. To help you get through it as smoothly as possible, here’s a clear step-by-step guide to help your guests settle in.

1. registration and residence permit

Refugees from Ukraine are generally allowed to stay in Germany without a visa for 90 days. However, to be allowed to work or receive government assistance, they must register within those 90 days of arrival.

Registering and finding permanent residency:

In Berlin, registration takes place in person on site. If your guests do not yet have private, permanent accommodation in Berlin, they must report to the Ukraine Arrival Center at the former Tegel Airport, Saatwinkler Damm, 13405 Berlin. The arrival center is open daily around the clock.

Since Berlin does not have enough accommodations, all registered persons are distributed within Germany. Refugees who have family (1st degree relatives) or social ties (e.g. living group) in Berlin can apply for distribution to Berlin at the Tegel distribution center. Only when they have a permanent residence in Berlin, they can submit the online application for the residence permit.

Apply for a residence permit:

If your Ukrainian guests can stay with you permanently OR already have other permanent housing in Berlin OR an assignment decision for distribution to Berlin, they can apply online for a residence permit for temporary protection.

You should not submit the application if your guests are only temporarily accommodated in Berlin (e.g. in emergency shelters, exhibition halls, churches, hostels, …) or have not been distributed to Berlin.

Once your guests have submitted the online application, they will be emailed an appointment to attend. This may take some time. At the end of the online application, however, they can download a certificate as a PDF confirming that they are legally allowed to stay and work in Germany.

By the way: The online application only needs to be filled out by one family member. All other family members can be included in it.

The appointment for the issuance of the residence permit takes place at the National Immigration Office. If desired, you can accompany your Ukrainian guests there:

The residence permit is issued for two years . You can find more information on this, answers to further questions and current topics for those seeking protection in Berlin at

2. medical care

With the residence permit or the temporary certificate of the online application, refugees as well as their included relatives have the permission to work. They are also entitled to social benefits (maintenance) and access to medical care. The corresponding benefits can be applied for with the (temporary) residence permit at the responsible social welfare office in the district.

In medical emergencies, treatment may take place even before registration and issuance of the residence permit. Many doctors’ offices offer free consultations for refugees without health insurance.

You can use the AOK doctor search to find a practice near you for your guests online, and the Techniker Krankenkasse doctor guide can be used to find doctors’ practices with Ukrainian or Russian language skills in particular. On the platform Jameda you can also search for doctors who treat Ukrainian refugees in your area free of charge (in Ukrainian).

As soon as your Ukrainian guests start working in Germany, immediate health insurance is possible. If they have a family member who already has health insurance in Germany, they may be covered free of charge through the so-called family insurance.

3. opening a bank account

For many matters you need a bank account. Refugees can easily open a basic account at any bank. A basic account basically offers the same options as a checking account. Your guests can use it to participate in payment transactions. The application for such a bank account may be refused by banks only for good reason (e.g. if necessary identification documents are missing).

4. application for financial support

Refugees from Ukraine who are currently accommodated privately, in hostels or emergency shelters can apply for financial benefits and health insurance in Berlin at the Social Welfare Office in the relevant district. Information on the individual social welfare offices in Berlin’s districts, addresses and opening hours can be found at

A bank account should be opened in advance to receive the benefits, as the payouts cannot be made to foreign accounts. However, a cash payment is possible.

All information on how to apply in German and Ukrainian as well as the necessary forms to fill out can be found at

5. free SIM card

Telekom provides refugees from Ukraine with free SIM cards for unlimited telephony and data usage. If your guests have not yet received a SIM card, you can obtain one together with them at a Telekom issuing office. You must bring valid Ukrainian identity documents for legitimation.

Find a issuing office near you here.

6. job search

After registration, refugees from Ukraine are allowed to work in Germany. The Berlin Welcome Center in Potsdamer Straße in Berlin-Mitte offers, among other topics, detailed information and advice on all aspects of working: on finding a job or training, on working conditions, on the recognition of foreign qualifications and on learning German. If necessary, you can make an appointment for your guests there:

Refugees can get support in finding a job from the Federal Employment Agency. They can independently search for job offers in the job exchange of the Federal Employment Agency and in the three Berlin Job Points. The Berlin Network for the Right to Stay bridge also provides support in finding a job. Under the following links, you will also find online portals where jobs are advertised specifically for Ukrainian refugees: